6 feet in 1/16ths of an inch

I’ve been making informal seating from ash cheeses for a client.  I started with a sample one in the bodgery.


Bodgery cheese

I’m using a 1 1/2 inch auger to get some beef into the joints.  I don’t usually work with cheeses as they have a good chance of splitting and ash splits in spades (they don’t call it most excellent splitter for nothing).  However, the client wants it this way, the cheeses were there and I’ve explained about the splitting, and they are partly dry.

I’ve been having to use heavy smoke methods to deter midges, which have been a real nuisance recently.  It does give a moody tone to photos though.


Veritas, Veritas semper Veritas.

I use a tenon cutter for the tenons from those excellent folk in Canada, you know the one I mean.

Well the sample went down well, so yesterday and today I’ve been making the other 5 seats and a table.  Made the legs in Strid Wood, then moved to the client’s house today for mortising.


Hobbit stools

I had to rig up a temporary vice as there is a lot of torque involved in turning that auger 3″ deep.


Ratchet vice

I strapped each seat in turn to the underside of what would become the table top which is the biggest heaviest cheese.  Worked pretty well.



Notice the tiny one sitting atop a full-sized stool?  It for the toddler in the family.

I managed to avoid a few potential problems – nails


Hidden steel.

The tree was a couple of years older than I am.


67, born from an ash key in 1948.

So … today 5 seats and a table, four 3 inch holes each, 5 foot of hole, each shaving from the auger is 1/16th of an inch, guess what’s coming … 60 times 16 is 960 turns – very good for the pecs, but also rather tiring, especially as the seats and table had to be leveled and the edges chamfered.


Freehand draw-knife work.

No wonder then that I managed to cut a hole in my new work trousers (and my knee) with the drawknife. Well I was about finished and found a handy bandage in the ambulance  Land Rover, could have used a couple of Steristrips though.

Meanwhile, back in the woods.


That’s no dog’s bark

Someone had been eating the beech bark, well stripping it actually and not eating any at all.


Send them back home

Grey squirrels, they are no match for a 410 shotgun.



3 thoughts on “6 feet in 1/16ths of an inch

    • Hi Graeme,

      Glad you like ’em.

      The chance of trying elm cheeses would be a fine thing, but elm that size is now rather rare following the devastation of Dutch Elm Disease. We still have some individuals hanging around the hedgerows, but too vaulable to experiment with, and I wasn’t working wood seriously before the devastation.

      Certainly elm is the opposite of fraxinus excelsior (ash, translates to mighty fine splitter) but it does surface check. I just acquired some thick old dry boards of elm today, funnily enough, and there are quite a few checks in them (and some woodworm – pass me the saw!)

      • Thanks Richard,
        I’ll take that as a yes, around here (NZ) Dutch-elm disease didn’t get much south of the Bombay Hills, due to radical surgery, preventing the spread of the beetles that spread the fungus. I got a few 20″ rounds a couple of years ago (from a fallen branch in Christchurch) and hope more will turn up in time, they’re common enough. The thing is what to do with it. It’s a bit punky for a lot of uses, so cheese stools looks like a good option.

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